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Featured blog post: Unintended consequences of EMRs?

Hospitalist Leadership Connection, April 14, 2009

As I have spoken with people around the country about electronic medical records (EMRs) and the investment in health information technology provided by the stimulus package, many questions remain unanswered.

Perhaps the most pressing one is, “Will the federal EMR really reduce healthcare costs?” At least one physician thinks EMRs will actually increase the cost of healthcare, and he may be right. In his April 6 TIME magazine article, Scott Haig, MD, raises some very interesting observations, which could result in some unintended consequences.

As a high school physics student, I remember learning that “for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.” I don’t know about the “equal” part of this analogy, but I believe we can expect a reaction to the implementation of EMR. As Dr. Haig points out, if physicians enter a diagnosis from a “drop-down” menu, they will likely be reminded that a more complex diagnosis likely equals higher reimbursement for the hospital and possibly the physicians as well. This could raise the cost of care. . . Read more of the “EMR and unintended consequences” blog post by Kirk Mathews, MBA, on HospitalistLeadership.com.

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